Some people have such a small amount of data that they think data protection regulations do not really apply to them. “We only store contact details” they say….

Well, not much to worry about there then. People are not likely to be fooled, after all, by an email professing to be from HMRC processing a refund. Nobody would be foolish enough to enter their bank details for a few hundred pounds payout, would they? So no harm done if you lose those.

I’ve even had the call to my mobile telling me I’m to be imminently arrested as part of a HMRC fraud investigation. Of course, I guessed it was a scam but that didn’t stop my inner demons conjuring up an image of police cars outside my house and me being led away in handcuffs. Felt quite unwell until I’d googled the number and seen other peoples’ comments about receiving the same call.  Still, some people did fall for it and there are stories circulating about people selling cars and handing over large amounts of cash to the fraudsters.  There have now been so many similar threatening phone calls that both Which and Money Saving Expert have published advice on how to spot them.

A friend of mine disclosed enough bank details to a random caller whom he thought was the bank, to enable them to transfer (and they did) £20,000 from his business account. The shock made him ill and he has suffered ill health ever since.

Be under no illusion, losing someone’s personal contact details IS a big deal. Just ask anyone who’s been scammed. And the thing is, it’s not rocket science to protect it. So put in place appropriate rules and make sure you’re not the one who inadvertently spills the bucket of personal data.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, why not head over to our training website where you can purchase an excellent introductory training course to help you? It is a low cost, standalone module with no obligation to buy anything else.

Joy Higham, Data Protection Practitioner